From the early 17th century, legacies have been left in trust to the vicars and churchwardens of the Ancient Parish of St John Hackney. The income from these bequeathed properties and investments were used to buy specific items for people in need. The first of these legacies was left by Thomas Heron in 1603, the year that Queen Elizabeth I died.
At the time the Church of England was seen as a kind of 'local authority' and the rectors and churchwardens of each of the three parishes of Hackney created in 1833 were responsible for the local distribution of these charitable funds.
Today HPC gives grants to organisations and individuals that live within its area of benefit (please see the map).
In 2008 the Trustees took over the Hackney District Nurses Association and now administers its remaining funds. The original objectives of the Association were the training, education and support of nurses and midwives, the provision of equipment and services to support them, and also to relieve the poverty of persons resident within the London Borough of Hackney. HPC now makes grants in these areas from the funds it holds.
HPC is managed by a Board of Trustees made up of local people with an interest in the community.
The current trustees are:
The charity is governed by the Charity Commission; charity number 219876.